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„Néha sebet hagynak rajtam a gondolataim” – Exkluzív interjú ELLE EXXE-szel

Colourful, honest, and unique – just a few words to describe Elle Exxe’s music. The British singer released her debut album as an independent artist 4 years ago, and she was named Best Female Solo Act at the Unsigned Music Awards the same year. Since then, she has travelled all around the world and performed at some of the biggest festivals, including Sziget, which she says she loved.

There’s no doubt that 2020 is her year: she’s releasing new music on 20th of every second month, with alternate versions on the alternate months, and she’s working on her second album, all while supporting mental health charities with her new single, “Before I Break”. In an exclusive interview with MUSICDAILY, Elle Exxe opens up about her music, dark moments, being locked in, her inspirations, and even Hungarian cuisine!

photo source: Elle Exxe
You released your debut album, „Love Fuelled Hate” in 2016. Is it harder to put out music, being an unsigned artist?

I’ve never been signed so I don’t have something to compare it to, but I actually think releasing music is easier as an unsigned artist. With labels there can be several people involved and each of them need to give their approval before a song can be released. If a label don’t think the song you’ve created will be a commercial hit, they can stop it from ever being heard.

But as an independent artist I can do what I want, when I want.

It’s harder to finance myself as an unsigned artist though and it’s harder to get my releases heard because I don’t have a marketing team or anything like that. I also don’t have the same access to award winning producers and things like that, I have to collaborate with undiscovered talent and I have to take a lot of risks with my time and money.

You’re releasing new music on 20th of every second month in 2020, are these songs going to form an album?

I don’t think these songs are going to form an album, but they could! There’s a synergy and chronology to the story that’s coming out through the songs.

I’m planning an album right now though! But I haven’t written the track listing yet.

What’s your favourite song that you’ve ever released?

Rose Gold. I felt really proud of every lyric in that song and the story was very close to my heart. It juxtaposes happy music with a melancholy story and I love that contrast. It’s kinda like Robyn in that way, it’s a bit of a sad-banger.

Your new single, “Before I Break” is out now, which is supporting a charity related to mental health. Is it important to you to give back to the people in need?

Yes, giving back is really important to me, especially at times like these. “Before I Break” came from a dark moment. When I started writing songs I was in a dark space and wanted to write for others who were in that space to relate to and feel less alone with.

Things still get dark for me but nowhere near as often as they used to.

When I come out of a rough patch sometimes the things I’ve thought while I was in there scar me a little. I didn’t want to believe that I’d thought the thoughts I was thinking when I was in that moment like the lyric: “I wanna be somebody else just for today, I wanna give you all my pain”, that’s such a brutal thing to say, sing or even think. I felt guilty when I listened to it and wanted to deny that I’d ever thought such a thing,

but that’s part of the issue with mental health, we’re always trying to hide it and ignore it when things get bad.

I’m not sure if the hiding is to protect ourselves or to protect our loved ones from worrying, but denying it can lead to feeling more disconnected and that just amplifies the suffering. So I decided it was important to release the song, especially as there are a lot of people suffering right now. I chose not to sensor or soften it because my words were true to the moment I was living in.

But I didn’t want to profit from negative thoughts.

I wanted the song to comfort people who were in a dark space and make them feel less alone, but I also wanted to highlight that there were places they could seek help. Music is medicine, but sometimes more support is needed and that’s why I’m donating to a crisis support phone-line Shout 85258 and Rethink Mental Illness.

photo: Ian Wallman
How are you coping with the current situation?

I’m doing good thanks. Obviously I’m concerned about similar things to everyone like money, cancelled events, and worrying for lots of people who are suffering, but I’m trying to focus on the positives and most of the time it’s working. I’m grateful for the simple things like being able to afford good food, having a nice house to stay in, being locked in with my favourite person, my family being healthy and I’m loving the beauty of nature! Having my singles coming out on 20th of every 2nd month and a piano version on the alternate months has given me a lot of focus and has been a welcome distraction from it all too.

You’ve played some of the biggest festivals all over the world, even postponed your wedding to play V Festival. What’s your favourite part of touring and performing?

I love connecting with total strangers through music. To look out at a massive crowd and sing with them one-to-one and sway with them is magical.

To be given a platform to take people out of their minds and away from life’s complications is such a privilege.

Playing all over the world has showed me that it doesn’t matter what language we speak, we’re all human, we all feel the same feelings, and we can all connect through music.

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3 years ago, you played Sziget Festival in our country and you even head-banged your face off the microphone and was left with a bloody lip. Tell us about that. Did you like Sziget in general?

I loved Sziget! I even loved the bloody lip!

I’m really glad it happened in the final chorus of the final song though, cause it was bloody sore! I was playing the night P!nk was on, and Alma was playing on the same stage as me, I love both of them. The weather was amazing too! And having it on an island made it feel like it was on another planet. The crowd were in amazing spirits and sang along with me. I have a song that people close their eyes to and a man got down and laid on the floor for it, I thought that was so cool. I’d love to come back.

Did you try Hungarian cuisine?

I did! I had goulash and some kind of dough. I think I was only there two nights, so I only got to go out the night I wasn’t performing. I need to come back and try Lángos.

Who is your biggest inspiration as an artist?

Freddie Mercury. I love the way he connected with crowds. He was flamboyant yet somehow understated. He had so much passion in his voice too. A real icon!

photo source: Elle Exxe
Do you have a dream collaboration?

I dream of collaborating with Kanye West. I know he’s a bit controversial. But he’s a proper creative and producer, I don’t know if we’d get along but I think we’d make something amazing.

You’ve had some major successes as an unsigned artist. What’s one piece of advice you would give to up-and-coming artists?

Never stop practicing your skills! You can always be better at something – whether it’s writing songs, performing, singing, playing guitar etc. Tune out all the noise and the statistics and focus on being the greatest artist you can be… and try to be patient! When you get your break, if you’ve practiced and worked hard you’ll have the confidence to do incredible things and you’ll have longevity.

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